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Taste of 275

CityBeat interns review every Wendy's restaurant on the loop

By Danny Cross and Maija Zummo · November 4th, 2009 · Diner
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There might be hundreds of dining options along I-275, but there’s only one Super Value Menu — and it’s at Wendy’s. In honor of this pioneering fast food chain, whose Old Fashioned Combos, Garden Sensations Salads and Frosty™ have revolutionized highwayside dining, we sent our most poor and hungry talented and promising young writers out to review all 15 Wendy’s locations off I-275.

Each stop included the purchasing of at least one item from the Super Value Menu, an assessment of the service and in most cases a peek inside the restroom, resulting in an overall ranking from 1 to 5 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers. Thank you, and come again.

I-275 Exit: Hebron/KY-237/North Bend Road
Wendy’s Address: 2098 North Bend Road
Most people complain about fast food never really looking as it does in commercials, but my Double Stack looked just like the one in the photo menu, in all its square glory. I appreciated the eye contact my cashier gave me and the demanding hand-washing sign posted in the women’s restroom. I did not appreciate that whoever last used the ladies’ room hovered a bit too high. (Jac Kern)
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I-275 Exit: US-25/US-42/US-127/Dixie Hwy
Wendy’s Address: 3065 Dixie Hwy.
I went in to order a Frosty, expecting the cashier to try and sell me the newest Baconator offspring. I ended up sharing a special moment with a gem named Lillian. Instead of letting me pay $1.69 for a small Frosty, she suggested I purchase a $1 gift book that came with 10 Frosty coupons. And with 90 percent of the  proceeds going to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, I could feel good about myself while slurping down a chocolate shake. Lillian proceeded to explain that she is trying to sell the most books because she was adopted as a child and the foundation is very special to her. ARE YOU READING THIS, OPRAH? (JK)
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(5 Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers go to Lillian for warming my cold, black heart.)

I-275 Exit: Covington/Independence
Wendy’s Address: 493 Orphanage Road
This location was aggressively promoting their new Frosty-cino and Coffee Toffee beverages. A good 15 guests were dining inside this location, enjoying the musical stylings of Vanessa Carlton. Conveniently, the WiFi offered at the adjacent Bob Evans restaurant could be picked up inside this Wendy’s. If you pretended the scent of over-salted French fries was coffee, you could easily forget you’re at a fast food chain and think you’re in a Starbucks. (JK)
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I-275 Exit: OH-125/Beechmont Ave.
Wendy’s Address: 601 Ohio Pike
From the outside, this appeared to be your average location with dingy brown bubble windows. Inside, however, Wendy got some work done! We’re talking Ikea light fixtures, frosted glass booth dividers, post-modernist depictions of fast food and bright berber carpet. What could spoil such a lovely setting? Overhearing the following dialogue from the kitchen: “Ew!  What is that?”  “It’s poison.” (JK)
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I-275 Exit: Milford Pkwy.
Wendy’s Address: 75 Rivers Edge
This whole area is a high school hangout: Quaker Steak & Lube, an airport cinema, Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday’s and BW-3’s.

Just before the evening shift a clique of high school employees form a circle around a free overstuffed small fry and some sour cream on the side while Brandon, a fat-faced manager weeps quietly knowing he’ll never be cool enough because he’s the boss. But he’s working hard. This Wendy’s should be Zagat’s No. 1 for top food, top facilities and top overall 2009. (Peter Robertson)
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I-275 Exit: OH-28 Blanchester/Milford
Wendy’s Address: 1097 OH 28
“Don’t Trust Govt Run Anything!” said the sign of an old white guy holding an American flag off Exit 57. I thought about what he said as I drove past every fast food temptation known to middle America. What I don’t trust is a Wendy’s trying to look clean with its new earthy colors and post-modern art of burgers and fries while the restroom looks just like the Shell station on East Liberty Street. (PR)
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I-275 Exit: Loveland/Indian Hill
Wendy’s Address: 10601 Loveland Madeira Road
Sitting with my five nuggets and a value drink I see fake ferns and ivy planters, two bigger women having a quiet conversation and a little girl getting an insulin shot from her father. As weird and ironic as that is, this Wendy’s was one of the good ones. Still, after seeing that little girl, I rethought getting a refill. (PR)
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I-275 Exit: US 22/OH-3 Montgomery/Morrow
Wendy’s Address: 10765 Montgomery Road
Surrounded by glass I could see all of Wendy’s competition: Quiznos, Skyline, McDonald’s and Baskin Robins. But the real winner in the end is Dr. Mandell and Dr. Brown’s plastic surgery center coincidentally in the middle of it all. This is the first location where I couldn’t see what was going on in the back, though I did realized that window orders were being shouted in Spanish. (PR)
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I-275 Exit: Lebanon Road
Wendy’s Address: 11960 Lebanon Road
While the young man, Matt, who took my order lacked any degree of enthusiasm, he made up for it with accuracy. My $3 value menu meal came up within a frighteningly quick 30 seconds, and just how I wanted it. The décor was mismatched and confused, and the condiment station was riddled with coagulated ketchup. The bathroom, however, smelled like a pungent cocktail of cleaning products, which is always comforting. (Eric Johnson)
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I-275 Exit: OH-747/Princeton Pike Springdale/Glendale
Wendy’s Address: 11681 Princeton Pike
My aspirations for dollar menu delights dwindled as the mile and a half jaunt from the highway seemed like an eternity. When I finally reached this Ikea-clad, swank Wendy’s, I was confronted with a raucous French DJ counting down a top-ten playlist on the radio in, you guessed it, French. While my Double Stack had me wondering, “Where’s the beef?” and the seats in the dining room had no cushions, the bathroom did have its own private stall. (EJ)
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275 Exit: Winton Road/Forest Park
Wendy’s Address: 11898 Chase Plaza
This was the longest line I waited in all day. It could have been on account of the woman who sent her chicken sandwich back not once, but twice; the first time for being too cold and the second for having too moist of a bun. Needless to say, I felt for the gal working the cash register. But by the time I reached the counter to order my 5-piece chicken nugget, she managed to muster up a smile. Yet, I knew that wouldn’t be the case when she had to mop the suspiciously wet bathroom floor, which was strewn with sopping wet toilet paper, later on that evening. (EJ)
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I-275 Exit: OH-127 Hamilton Ave. Fairfield/Mt. Healthy
Wendy’s Address: 11400 Dallas Blvd.
United We Stand! This is the beam of light Wendy’s wants you to believe serves the perfect square patties on the perfectly toasted buns. 11:30 a.m. is prime time for fast food lunch and my very made-up, very unenthusiastic yet very polite, great-weaved cashier (Diva) made my day. Although the over abundance of condiments quickly cooled my Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, it was pure Mid-Western delight! Mmmm — and the Freedom fries were nothing short of great, fresh, hot, crispy (and slightly limp) saltiness. A true American pastime, indeed! (Jim Cunningham)
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I-275 Exit: OH-27/Colerain Ave.
Wendy’s Address: 10152 Colerain Ave.
Divided We Fall! Petsmart and Wal-Mart are the great American neighbors of this sad, nearly defunct, operation. No flags or sticker support here, my friends! My no name-tagged cashier was pleasant enough but may have been one of those people pleasing drones I heard about on Coast to Coast— they can be very tricky. I ordered my usual (Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and Value Fries) and got whatever the drone handed me: patty, no mayo, one pickle, no tomato, no lettuce, extra cheese. And the fries were too done and not salted. This may be the hub of what’s wrong in Burgerville. I wonder if they speak American at Burger King? (JC)
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I-275 Exit: OH-128 Hamilton/Cleves
Wendy’s Address: 6330 OH-128
When enjoying fine cuisine I usually prefer to dine next to a graveyard. The tables out front offer a great view of the tombstones. That said, the parking is a-plenty and the bathrooms are clean. The 5-piece nuggets are as dry as any other Wendy’s and the employees are happy to serve you your frosty with a forced smile. (Rachel Rayburn)
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